Pain in the upper left abdomen can be a sign of many diseases ranging from mild to complex. So, when you have this sign, you check to see if there are other accompanying symptoms to know if you should see a doctor.
There are many causes of abdominal pain and each location will give you an indication of your health status. Left-sided abdominal pain usually comes from several vital organs such as the heart, spleen, pancreas, colon, and lungs. Some causes can be treated at home, but some can be life-threatening. So, if you experience this symptom for no apparent reason or the pain is persistent and severe, you need to see a doctor right away.
Here are the common causes of upper left abdominal pain, let’s take a look at easyhealthylive.com to know how to handle it in time.
Some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack are spasms, pain in the upper left abdomen below the ribs, pressure in the chest or arms, and even pain in the jaw, back, or neck. In addition to these symptoms, you may also have:
- Sudden dizziness
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or upset stomach
- Cold sweat
If you experience one or two of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. People who have had a heart attack need to be treated in a hospital. Your doctor may recommend medication or surgery:
- Blood thinners, aspirin, pain relievers, nitroglycerin, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers
- Stent surgery or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
Angina is a heart-related condition that is caused by not having enough oxygen in the blood to the heart. A common symptom of this condition is pain in the chest, jaw, back, shoulders, and arms. In addition, you may also have:
- Short of breath
Treatment for angina will depend on the cause, but is usually:
- Healthy lifestyle changes
- Using medications such as blood thinners, beta-blockers
- Stent surgery or coronary artery bypass grafting
Pericarditis is a common cause of left upper chest pain that you need to be aware of
Pericarditis is an inflammation, swelling, and possibly effusion of the pericardium. This is also one of the common causes of left upper chest pain that you need to be aware of.
- Sharp pain in the middle or left side of the chest, worse when you breathe in
- A cough
- Unusual swelling in the abdomen or legs
- Shortness of breath when lying down
- Heart beat fast
- Mild fever
Treatment regimens will depend on the cause and severity, but are usually:
- Use medications such as aspirin, corticosteroids, colchicine, and antibiotics if the cause is an infection
- Pericardial puncture
- Pericardial resection surgery.
Cause of Digestion
Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements are less than three times per week and each bowel movement is extremely “hard”. This is a very common “culprit” of upper left abdominal pain, especially in children. To treat constipation, you need:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise
- Avoid going out
- Eat more foods rich in fiber
- Use laxatives as directed
- Surgery if chronic constipation.
Heartburn can cause mild to severe chest pain and usually occurs after eating. This is usually caused by acid traveling back from the stomach into the esophagus, leading to a burning sensation and discomfort in the chest. The condition can also cause burning around the throat, behind the breastbone, or pain in the upper left abdomen. To manage heartburn, you need:
- Weight loss
- Quitting smoking
- Eat less fatty foods
- Avoid spicy or acidic foods
- In mild cases, your doctor may prescribe antacids.
Persistent and difficult-to-control heartburn can be a warning sign that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which you experience heartburn more than twice per week. Common symptoms are:
- Chest pain
- Sore throat
- A cough
- Difficulty swallowing
Treatment for this condition will depend on the severity of the symptoms, but will usually require a combination of lifestyle changes and medication:
- Lifestyle changes: lose weight, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, keep your head elevated while sleeping, divide into several small meals, do not lie down within 3 hours of eating
- Use of drugs such as antacids, H2 receptor blockers, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), prokinetics
In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Left upper abdominal pain can also be due to gastrointestinal causes
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition with intestinal symptoms that often occur together. Common symptoms are:
- Left upper abdominal pain, often accompanied by diarrhea or constipation
- Stools with white mucus
- Flatulence, bloating
There is currently no cure for irritable bowel syndrome. Most of the measures applied are mainly for symptom relief. You need:
- Eat more foods rich in fiber
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce stress
- Take medicine or probiotics
- Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an inflammation of the digestive tract, the most common of which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. With inflammatory bowel disease, you may experience:
- Exhausted or tired
- Bloody stools
- Unintentional weight loss
To treat inflammatory bowel disease, you need to combine lifestyle changes, such as changing your diet, maintaining regular exercise, avoiding stress, etc., with the use of medications prescribed by your doctor such as antibiotics. antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, antidiarrheal drugs, analgesics. In addition, the doctor may also recommend surgery when necessary or use alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
Drinking lots of water is a simple and effective way to prevent and treat kidney stones
Kidney stones are waste products that build up in the kidneys and stick together. This is usually caused by a lack of water in the body. Common symptoms are:
- Sharp pain in left upper abdomen and back
- Pain when urinating
- Urine with blood
Treatment will depend on the severity and size of the kidney stone, but usually:
- Take painkillers
- Drink a lot of water
- Perform surgery such as laparoscopic shock wave surgery, ureteroscopy, or laparoscopic nephrectomy.
An inflamed pancreas can cause left upper abdominal pain. There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. With pancreatitis, you will:
- Abdominal pain spreading to the back
- Severe stomach pain after eating
- Stomach pain
- Vomiting and Nausea
- Increase heart rate
- Unusual weight loss
To treat pancreatitis, your doctor may prescribe methods such as:
- Pancreatic enzyme supplements
- Use pain relievers
- Intravenous infusion
- Perform cholecystectomy, drain fluid from the pancreas, or remove obstructions in the bile ducts.
Infection is the most common cause of an enlarged spleen. In addition to this cause, it can also be due to liver problems such as cirrhosis and cystic fibrosis. With an enlarged spleen, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Feeling full even after eating very little
- Left back pain
- Back pain spreading to your shoulder
- Frequent recurring infections
The treatment regimen for an enlarged spleen will depend on the cause, but will usually involve antibiotics, surgery, and rest.
Pneumonia is an infection that occurs in one or both lungs. This condition can have many causes such as fungi, bacteria and viruses with common symptoms being:
- Cough with mucus
- Severe chest pain when coughing or breathing deeply
- Extremely tired
Pneumonia can be treated at home under the direction of a doctor. For treatment you need:
- Rest often
- Drink a lot of water
- Take antibiotics and fever reducers as prescribed.
Visit your doctor when you have the above symptoms to get the right treatment
Pleurisy is a condition in which the membrane around the lungs inside the chest wall becomes inflamed. The main common symptoms are:
- Chest pain when coughing, sneezing or breathing
- A cough
Treatment measures for pleurisy are commonly used antibiotics, pain relievers, anticoagulants, clot-busting drugs, and bronchodilators.
Pneumothorax is a condition in which air enters the space between the lungs and the chest wall. Common symptoms of this condition are usually:
- Chest pain
- Pale skin
- Heart beats fast
- Increase shallow breathing
- A cough
To treat a pneumothorax, your doctor may recommend surgery, oxygen therapy, and placement of a tube to drain excess air.
A broken rib can be caused by a serious injury. However, if you have osteoporosis or another health problem that affects your bones, you can break a rib from a minor blow. With a broken rib, you may experience:
- Severe chest pain
- Pain that worsens when breathing
- Shortness of breath
- The pain lasted for a few weeks
Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery if necessary. In addition, you can also practice deep breathing exercises to speed up the recovery process.
Practicing deep breathing exercises can speed up the healing of a rib fracture
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Although the appendix is not located in the upper left abdomen, in rare cases you may experience pain in this area. Common symptoms are usually:
- Abdominal pain in the lower right quadrant
- Abdomen soft to the touch
- Abdominal pain in the upper left part
In most cases, your doctor will recommend surgery to treat appendicitis.
Upper left abdominal pain can have many causes, ranging from mild to severe. However, if the pain is persistent and severe, you should seek medical attention. To avoid these conditions, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly. If you’re looking to workout but don’t know where to start, seek out easyhealthylive.com’s tech coaches. The trainers will check your fitness and help you draw up a workout plan as well as monitor your nutrition to give you the right advice. Download now easyhealthylive.com to do just that.
What’s Causing Pain Under My Ribs in the Upper Left Abdomen? https://www.healthline.com/health/upper-left-abdominal-pain-under-ribs Date of access: 19/7/2020
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.